While virtual production is definitely having a “moment” in Hollywood and beyond, VP technologies and techniques have by no means just appeared overnight, cinematographer Neil Oseman observes in a recent blog post. The use of LED walls and LED volumes — a major component of virtual production — can be traced directly back to the front- and rear-projection techniques common throughout much of the 20th century, he notes.
Oseman takes readers on a trip through the history of virtual production from its roots in mid-20th century films like North by Northwest to cutting-edge shows like Disney’s streaming hit, The Mandalorian. Along the way, he revisits the “LED Box” director of photography Emmanuel Lubezki conceived for 2013’s VFX Academy Award-winner Gravity, the hybrid green screen/LED screen setups used to capture driving sequences for Netflix’s House of Cards, and the high-resolution projectors employed by DP Claudio Miranda on the 2013 sci-fi feature Oblivion.
Oseman also includes films like Deepwater Horizon (2016), which employed a 42×24-foot video wall comprising more than 250 LED panels, Korean zombie feature Train to Busan (2016), Murder on the Orient Express (2017), and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016), as well as The Jungle Book (2016) and The Lion King (2018), before touching on more recent productions like 2020’s The Midnight Sky, 2022’s The Batman and Paramount+ series Star Trek: Strange New Worlds.